Official Blog Site of All-Spec

Latex Gloves – Are You Allergic?


Many industrial manufacturing environments require workers to wear protective gloves, including during electronics and medical device production and assembly. Latex gloves not only protect workers from harmful chemicals but also protect products from worker contact and contamination during manufacturing Read more

ST 925 SMT Rework System–Three favorites combined into one nice savings


Save a few steps--and some money--with the Pace 925 SMT Rework System Pace has introduced a new low-cost “combination” system ideal for surface mount technology (SMT) rework. It’s worth adding up the savings by comparing the a la carte prices Read more

Metcal’s CV-5200 Connection Validation Soldering Station Changes Everything


You may or may not have heard about Metcal’s new soldering station, the CV-5200. The evolutionary tool removes much of the reliance on visual inspection of hand-soldered joints and adds a second, more technology-driven method for validating a successful Read more

How to Choose a Solder

Posted on by Andy in Soldering Tips and Tricks Leave a comment

According to Dictionary.com, solder is defined as “any of various fusible alloys, usually tin and lead, used to join metallic parts.”

Solder is used by electronics manufacturers, electricians, jewelry makers, plumbers and even hobbyists.

The first step in choosing a solder is to decide what metals are going to be bonded, because the type of metal used will greatly influence the type of solder used. Soft solders are often used with copper, tin and brass. These solders have a low melting point and are made of tin (Sn) and lead (Pb). Soft solders also come in different proportions of tin and lead. Common ratios are 60/40, 50/50 and 63/37. The first number is always the amount of tin in the solder.

Kester Lead Free SolderLead-free solder is another variety of solder that is becoming more popular. Electronics products that contain lead (as well as other hazardous materials) are banned from the European Union as part of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). Lead-free solder may contain many metals including silver, copper, tin, bismuth, indium, zinc and antimony.

Hard solders have a high melting point and are usually made with a high proportion of the metal being soldered. Also, lead is not used in hard soldering. Hard soldering is often used for jewelry making. Because of the high melting point, a hand held torch is usually used in place of a soldering iron.

Solder comes in various forms. The most common forms of solder include, wire, bar and paste. Solder in wire form is probably the most popular because it comes conveniently packaged as a roll. The wire comes in different thicknesses and can be used directly on the circuit board with a soldering iron.

Solder bars are for wave soldering and solder pots. Wave soldering is large scale soldering of components to printed circuit boards (PCBs), while solder pots are used for tin wires/leads.

On the other hand, soldering paste is often used with a syringe. The paste is applied and then heated using hot plates or hot air guns. A disadvantage of soldering paste is that it needs to be kept cold and it will spoil after a few months.

Once you start researching solder, you’ll realize that the price of solder is flexible. The price fluctuates based on the current market price for the metals used in the solder.

Solder chemicals often go hand in hand with solder. Flux is a common soldering chemical. Flux chemically cleans the metals that are going to be soldered together. It is important to remove flux afterwards because the chemical can corrode the metal which could lead to future product failures.

FYI, here are some of the reasons why soldering is such a popular bonding method.

  • Correctly soldered joints can last for years, plus the joints are reliable.
  • For the most part, soldering is easy to do and inexpensive
  • An experienced solderer has control over the entire process
  • Options for solders, irons and tips are endless

Looking for more information on Kester solder?


Cooper Industries Acquires Filtronic AB Fume Extraction

Posted on by Andy in Industry News Leave a comment

Bill Flaherty, Vice President – Professional Tools for Cooper Tools has announced Cooper Industries has purchased the Swedish company Filtronic AB and the company will now be a part of the Cooper Tools division.

Filtronic AB is known around the world for their fume extraction equipment for soldering, adhesives, solvents and more. Advances in fume extractor technology are becoming more important as additional emphasis is placed on air pollution control and a healthy work environment.

The company was founded in 1993 on the idea to create portable filter systems to protect workers from potentially dangerous gases, fumes, dust, etc…Filtronic AB currently has distributors in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America but all the company’s development and production is done in Lidkoping, Sweden.

The combination of Cooper’s success with Weller soldering and fume extraction equipment plus Filtronic’s expertise in fume extraction means better products for customers.


Getting the Upper Hand on ESD Gloves

Posted on by Andy in ESD News, Product Reviews Leave a comment

ESD-Safe GL679 Nitrile GlovesThere are a plethora of ESD-safe products on the market, but ESD-safe gloves are one of the most efficient products available.

Workers usually wear gloves to protect the electronic items they are building from ESD but the gloves also serve as a barrier to protect the products from finger prints and scratches.

There are several types of ESD-safe gloves that are commonly used including nitrile gloves, vinyl gloves, latex gloves and fabric gloves.

Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic latex which is a great option for workers who are allergic to latex, plus they are inherently anti-static.  Nitrile gloves are also much more puncture resistant than rubber gloves and offer resistance to many types of solvents and chemicals. These gloves are usually more expensive than latex or vinyl gloves.

Vinyl gloves are another option for latex-sensitive workers. Vinyl gloves usually fit baggier than latex gloves, but the material is very soft. These gloves are less durable and less puncture resistant than nitrile and latex gloves.

Latex gloves are the gloves most people think of when rubber gloves are mentioned. These gloves are affordable, fit well, durable and very elastic. The major disadvantage with latex gloves is that they cannot be worn by workers with a latex allergy.

There are many variations when it comes to fabric gloves. Some hot gloves are used when handling “hot” circuit boards; the gloves dispel ESD while providing comfort for the worker. Some fabric gloves have a non-slip material on the palm and fingers for superior handling. Nylon gloves are another option. These gloves can be found in stretch, low-lint and lint-free varieties. Fabric gloves are also reusable and many times they can be washed without losing their anti-static properties. The reusable quality of fabric gloves makes them cost-effective compared to disposable gloves.

Finger cots are another option for ESD protection. They come in a variety of materials and provide ESD protection with more mobility than gloves.

Your company’s process requirements are the first place to check when shopping for gloves, because some work places do have glove requirements.

 


Leatherman Tools Now at All-Spec

Posted on by Andy in New Products Leave a comment

All-Spec Industries is now carrying Leatherman knives and Leatherman multipurpose tools.

Everyone knows Leatherman for their multipurpose tools but their knives (even the small ones) can come with useful tools in addition to the stainless steel blade. Other features often included with the knives are the removable pocket clip, bottle opener, bit driver, interchangeable bits and several others. All the Leatherman knives that All-Spec carries are pocket knife size, so they’re about 3” long.Leatherman Tools

Multipurpose tools by Leatherman are convenient and compact. The tools usually come with at least 12 tools, and sometimes they have over 15 tools.

Leatherman’s Blast MultiPurpose Tool comes with the following:

 

 

  • Needlenose Pliers
  • Regular Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hard-Wire Cutters
  • Saw
  • Scissors
  • Large Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Wire Stripper
  • Lanyard Attachment
  • One Double-Ended Bit
  • Ruler (8″/19 cm)
  • Wood/Metal File
  • Clip-Point Knife
  • Can/Bottle Opener
  • Small Bit Driver
  • Includes Phillips and flat tip eyeglass screwdriver

Who knows when you might need one of the above tools, and having one of the multipurpose tools in your car might pay off somewhere down the road.


For Your Electronics Reading Pleasure

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

For me, reading about something I’m interested in is half the fun of actually participating in that activity. I’m sure I can’t be the only one so I’ve compiled a short list of reading material to keep you busy, interested and informed.

My absolute favorite way to get an idea of what people are saying about a product or service is through forums. There are usually tons of posts to read and the reviews are real.

My favorite electronics forum is Dutch Force Electronics Forum. Members of this forum have made over 138,000 posts so the reading material is plentiful plus there must be a lot of fans because there are always recent posts. Individual forum topics vary from General to Printed Circuit Board Design to Home Made Gadgets.

Toolmonger is another cool place to hang out. Toolmonger claims to be the web’s first tool blog. With that said, I should probably tell you that all the posts aren’t electronics related, but they’re still interesting. Plus, you can browse the posts by tool type, subject and manufacturer. There’s also a useful section called “TV Tonight” that gives you the TV schedule for shows such as Myth Busters, Modern Marvels, Cool Tools and many others.

Another useful resource is All About Circuits. This site has free online textbooks on electricity and electronics. Examples of textbooks on the site include Digital, Reference, Semiconductor plus three others. The books are fairly in-depth and the site says the books are a continuous project so new material may be added from time to time. All About Circuits also has a forum.